St Mamas

St Mamas was the son of St Theodotos and St Roufina. Because of their Christian beliefs St Theodotos and St Roufina were arrested and imprisoned. St Roufina was pregnant at the time and gave birth to St.Mamas while in prison.  St Theodotos died before seeing his newborn son and St Roufina died soon after giving birth. St Mamas was left alone in prison beside the bodies of his parents.

An angel appeared to a rich widow called Ammia Matrona, telling her to go to the prison and rescue the child. Ammia obtained the city governor’s permission to bury the parents and take the child home with her. Ammia raised St Mamas as her own. He lived in Paflagonia (now Turkey, near the Black Sea) during the reign of emperor Aurilian (270 – 275 AD) at a time when Christians were being systematically persecuted by the emperor.

He was called Mamas because he was mute until the age of five and his first word was `Mama’.

As a teenager St Mamas turned towards the teaching of Christianity. He openly proclaimed his Christian faith and converted many non-believers to Christianity. The governor, Democritus, learned of this and had St Mamas arrested at the age of 15 and brought to trial. Democritus sent St Mamas to be sentenced by Emperor Aurelian. The emperor, perhaps seeking to spare the young boy, told St Mamas that if he denied Christ with his lips, the State would not concern itself with his heart. St Mamas replied  that he would not deny his God and King, Jesus Christ either in his heart or with his lips. Infuriated, by this, emperor Aurilian ordered that St Mamas be tortured until death.

An angel of the Lord saved St Mamas and took him to a high mountain in the wilderness, not far from Caesarea. There St Mamas built a small church and began a monastic life. Wild animals from the surrounding wilderness would gather at his home to listen to his reading of the gospels. St Mamas collected milk from wild goats and deer, which he used to make cheese to give away to the poor.

Soon the fame of St Mamas spread throughout all of Caesarea to the annoyance of the governor, who sent a detachment of soldiers to find and arrest St Mamas. When they finally came across St Mamas on the mountain, the soldiers did not recognise him and mistook him to be a simple shepherd. St Mamas invited the soldiers into his home and gave them a drink of milk. He then told them his name, knowing that the soldiers were seeking his arrest and that death awaited him. St Mamas told the soldiers to go on ahead of him to Caesarea, promising them that he would follow soon. The soldiers waited for him at the gates of the city and St Mamas, accompanied by a lion, met them there.

St Mamas was brought to trial under deputy governor, Alexander, who had him tortured. They threw St Mamas to the lions, but the animals did not touch him. Finally, one of the pagan priests struck St Mamas with a trident spear, mortally wounding him. St Mamas fled the city to a small cave, where he died. He was buried in the cave where he died.

Άγιος Μάμας

Feast Day: 2 September

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